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Author Topic: Which Linux distribution should I use?  (Read 1107 times)
KB9UEZ
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« on: October 26, 2000, 09:11:29 PM »

I'm divorcing Microsoft.  I want to have a fling with Linux. Does anybody have any advice on which distribution I should use?  Ease of installation is a top priority.  I'll be running 100% Linux on this computer, no Windows at all.  

Thanks in advance!!

Trav kb9uez
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KD5MAW
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2000, 10:30:44 PM »

We have about 20 machines at work running Red Hat v 6.2 - install was relatively painless. I would suggest, however, that you might want to consider setting the drive up with a Linux bootable partition and a Windows bootable partition. Linux may or may not be the wave of the future but, for now, Windows is king of the hill for application availability. I went down this path in '91 with IBM's OS/2, for about the same reason (MS sucks and all that). OS/2 was/is superior to Win 3.1/95/98 (and some would argue NT 3.5 and 4.0), but I finally got tired of fighting the non-support of IBM, the constant driver problems, and the scimpy selection of application software. It was fun but, alas, I use a computer to do real work, so software availability and support is crucial. Folded my OS/2 tent and went to Win98 shortly after it was released. Judging from the Linux cult which has developed at work, you'll like Linux . . . just don't make it your only operating system.

Gadget
KD5MAW
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N1ZHE
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2000, 10:38:16 PM »

Trav,

  If I was starting out again with Linux and I knew what I know now, I'd find the latest version of Mandrake. It's the easiest to setup and run. Do yourself a BIG favor and get a really good book on whatever version of Mandrake you get. It WILL come in handy.

  I personally run Red Hat 6.1 (Red Hat is up to version 7 now) and I love it. But trust me, I can't say it enough, Mandrake will go a long way in getting you started off on the right foot with Linux.

  Don't go cheap, buy a version with some apps in it such as Star Office, etc.

  When you get Linux up and running, visit sites such as http://www.rpmfind.org/ and http://www.freshmeat.org and http://www.linuxapps.com/ (maybe .org). This will get you started on downloading free software. There are MANY more sites out there with software, too!

  Good luck! I know you will enjoy Linux. It has a steep learning curve, but it's not impossible. I've been running it for 2 years and there's still much to learn.

  Oh, by the way, you'll have to get used to looking for your own answers. And if you want to email me with a Linux question, feel free.

David, N1ZHE

carney1979@hotmail.com
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KB9UEZ
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2000, 05:36:49 PM »

Thanks for the input guys.  The computer in question is going to be dedicated primarily to Ham duty--everything I want to do with it seems available in Linux.  There's another computer in the house with MS on it, so I'm not going cold turkey!  I just went out and found the latest Mandrake version, & will start the adventure tonight!  

73
Trav  kb9uez
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KD5MAW
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2000, 05:55:18 PM »

Sounds like you have it covered KB9UEZ. I'll eventually switch to Linux at home, but am a little gunshy after my adventure with OS/2. We were looking for a PC-based alternative to running one of our combat simulation models at work (currently on HP workstations running HP-UX 10.2) and had some lively discussions on which way to go. One of the guys semi-jokingly suggested NT 4.0. After the laughter subsided, we settled on Linux. Good compu-haming. :~)

Gadget
KD5MAW
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KC5UIV
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2000, 04:00:00 AM »

I would go with Slackware. It's more BSDish and gives you more control over what you need and don't need. I've found redhat to install everything under the sun, and try and sanitize the linux install with a push here button. If you really want to tweak and burn, run slackware. Oh and compile your kernel a couple of times after the install. Modules out of the box allow you not to mess with it, but building the kernel the way you want it lets you see what exactly is going on. I've been Slacking since '92 and I've never dropped it since.

 Praise Bob!

 73's Jake
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AC5UP
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2000, 06:26:26 PM »

Trav:

There is no such thing as a divorce from Microsoft! You can pay Bill Gates now, or you can pay Bill Gates later.

We're doomed!

Anti-Redmond Dittoes from the Bureau Chief at AC5UP.
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WE9K
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2000, 05:10:03 PM »

I'm running Mandrake 7.0 even as we type. Totally painless install, which suprised me after a few years of being Linux-less at home. I got the software from a local swapfest this weekend for $10, but Best Buy is selling the SW for about $30. It does include Star Office, which is decent. Mine is set up dual boot using the BootMagic s/w bundled with the package. Also includes PartitionMagic so you can make room for the new Linux partitions. One thing I dont see tho is a way to get my scanner running, and Im not sure if there is a kernel version that would have a dev for the scanner. Another short coming is the print filter: while my HP 882 is recognized, the filter doesnt include much in the way of options to take advantage of the printers capability. Going to have to look into that as well. As popular as Linux is, you still get that sort of orphan feeling when it comes to legacy software/hardware support and developement.

Glenn Butzlaff WE9K
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N0NB
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2000, 07:40:49 AM »

WE9K wrote:

"One thing I dont see tho is a way to get my scanner running, and Im not sure if there is a kernel version that would have a dev for the scanner."

I'm not really sure if scanner access is a kernel issue or not.  Check out the SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) project at:

http://www.mostang.com/sane/

"Another short coming is the print filter: while my HP 882 is recognized, the filter doesnt include much in the way of options to take advantage of the printers capability. "

Unfortunately, HP hasn't been providing specs for its printers.  They've begun making some noises recently, but only time will tell.  Epson and Canon seem to be well supported and Lexmark released some drivers earlier this week,.  So, there are alternatives to HP.

However, this doesn't help those who already own such hardware, but the list of unsupported hardware gets shorter all the time.  For those owning an HP printer and using the Debian distribution, especially an older 600 series, try the djtools package, based on the HPTools package.  I've found it to work well by allowing econofast color printing on a DJ-692C.

- Nate N0NB
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73, de Nate
Bremen, KS

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N0NB
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2000, 08:15:26 PM »

Welcome aboard!

For a first time install it would likely be wise to take the advice of others  in this forum and give Mandrake a try.  Personally, I have not used it and cannot comment.

After you gain more experience with a Linux based system, you may want to take a look at Debian.  This is a distribution built by volunteers the world over and has as its primary goal to develop a complete operating system based on Free Software.  Most of the packages available in Debian meet the Debian Free Software Guideline (DFSG).  Other packages are available in the non-free package repository of the distribution.  Debian is not restricted to i386 based systems, but covers a wide variety of systems and processor types.  Many hams are involved in the Debian project and ham radio is as well supported by Debian as by any other distribution.  Debian is a community of developers and users, so hams should feel right at home.  

More details about Debian can be found at:

http://www.debian.org/

and more information on Free Software can be found at:

http://www.gnu.org/ and http://www.fsf.org/

- Nate >>
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73, de Nate
Bremen, KS

SKCC 6225
KD5LSX
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« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2000, 05:28:35 PM »

For ease of use and simplicity, I reccomend Linux Mandrake. It also comes with a nice suite of applications.
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